Meet manager Jang Min-kook, who is attempting to obtain his tenth certification. Referring to himself as a person who makes attempts rather than a master or expert, he hinted at the ways to persistently navigate through the realm of rapidly changing technology.
Q. Tell us about yourself and the work that you do.
I’m Jang Min-kook, a manager at the Hydrogen Energy Business Team, and I’m in charge of operations for the Hydrogen Shipping Center. We operate a site near Hyundai Steel’s hydrogen plant in Dangjin, Chungcheongnam-do that can produce around 2.4 tons of high-purity hydrogen each day (1,000 NEXOs). We are accumulating expertise in shipping center operations based on the high-pressure gas safety management method learned on-site in tube trailer hydrogen transportation, which Hyundai Glovis is taking on for the first time.
Manager Jang Min-kook oversees tube trailer hydrogen transportation.
Q. Was there anything in particular that prompted you to pursue so many certifications?
As a site manager, a person who trains, supervises, and trains workers requires competence I need to make judgments based on strong evidence and efficacy. Whatever I do, I constantly learn, master, and make it my own, which I believe made obtaining technical qualifications come naturally.
Q. What certifications do you currently hold?
I held a total of nine certifications before joining Hyundai Glovis, including Industrial Engineer Gas, Industrial Engineer Hazardous Materials, Firefighting Equipment Engineer (Machine), Industrial Engineer Metal Materials, Craftsman Welding, Craftsman Metal Material Testing, Craftsman Iron Making, Craftsman Steel Making, and Craftsman Rolling. I recently took the final test for the Master Craftsman Gas certificate and am waiting for the results for that one.
Manager Jang Min-kook has become a jack of all trades, able to work in a variety of industries thanks to the many certifications he has gained.
Q. Are all of your certifications relevant to your job?
Yes. They are inextricably linked to the current operation of the Hydrogen Shipping Facility. I’m directly dealing with high-pressure hydrogen due to the nature of the job, but I wanted to challenge myself to earn the Master Craftsman certfication, the ultimate fruit of field technicians, based on hands-on experience with rotating equipment (compressor, pump), pipe material standards, and numerous valves in the workplace. In the future, I plan to study other gases and believe that they will be valuable in fields that employ liquid hydrogen, LNG, and ammonia.
As he works in the field, the disciplines he wants to learn more about continue to grow in number.
Q. Is there a particular study technique that has enabled you to work and study at the same time?
Having a vague understanding of something and passing a certification examination seem to be two distinct things. It was difficult to have to work during the day and study at night. However, I believe that everyone has time for 1-2 hours each day, whether it is watching YouTube on a mobile phone or commuting to work. I always tried to read a book, even if it was only for 30 minutes a day. I also developed the practice of reading the book summary in my free time, which helped me to achieve good results.
Q. Which of the ten certifications was the most challenging to acquire?
That would be the Gas certification. The scope of the questions is not fixed, and I, coming from a humanities background, couldn’t help but gasp when I saw the vast range of subjects, which included chemistry, mathematics, materials engineering, mechanics, and the relevant laws. However, with the mindset of doing things slowly, I was able to master the fundamentals, from memorizing basic chemical formulas to using a scientific calculator, and was pleased to see that I could solve problems while understanding rather than through memorizing. By personally seeing and handling facilities in the field, I was able to also understand the theories in the books that I read.
Q. Which certification are you the most proud of?
That would be the Craftsman Welding certification that I earned before starting my military service. When I first started practicing in the field, I was terrified of electric shocks or being burned, but after studying and practicing welding, I was able to perform tasks comfortably in front of a flame. With the newly acquired welding certification, I actually worked as a welder while serving in the military. I was assigned to the military logistics warehouse supply battalion, where I constructed a bridge that could withstand an 11-ton vehicle passing over it, which earned me a reward leave. Even now, I feel proud of myself when I think of the bridge still being used in my former unit at Gangwon-do.
The Craftsman Welding certification helped earn a special leave for its holder while in the military.
Q. How do you deal with obstacles or stress when working and studying?
Self-development is crucial, but I believe that it is also necessary to relieve stress from time to time. When I meet up with friends and talk over a beer, I feel comfortable; when I work out and sweat at the gym, I feel renewed. Since I enjoy singing, I sometimes relieve stress by singing and shouting in a karaoke booth by myself.
Q. Are there any certifications you would recommend to coworkers in similar fields?
I would recommend going for the Gas certification. You can learn about the properties of hydrogen and the basic concepts of procedures, as well as how other gases, such as flammable gases and poisonous gases, are handled in the Korean industrial sector. You can also study the high-pressure gas legislation and safety management laws, which I believe will be very beneficial here as Hyundai Glovis plans to expand other hydrogen plants in the future.
Q. What certifications are you planning to pursue next?
Since I work in logistics, my next objective is to obtain the Professional Logistician certification. This is because, as a site manager of a hydrogen shipping center, it is critical to not only manage hydrogen efficiently, but also to transport hydrogen efficiently to generate economic feasibility. I believe that this certification is an excellent way to study logistics management and freight transportation management. Since I’m not a business or logistics major, I think it will help me in understanding fundamental concepts and principles and in moving forward with my career.
Q. Professionally, as you gain more qualifications there will surely be new challenges and goals. Based on your certifications so far, what do you want to do in the future?
In conjunction with the global expansion of carbon neutrality and environmentally friendly policies, I believe that hydrogen will be an important source of energy. My ambition is to become a leader in Korea’s hydrogen sector. As a hydrogen pioneer, I would like to set a positive example for junior coworkers over the next 5 to 10 years by learning and developing my operational skills.
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